by Rod Robertson, Managing Partner of Briggs Capital and author of “Winning at Entrepreneurship: Insiders’ Tips on Buying, Building, and Selling Your Own Business“
While news of vaccines on the horizon signal hope, some analysts think a sizable chunk of the U.S. economy has been damaged permanently by COVID-19, with more layoffs and business closures still to come in 2021.
But to others, the future of a “new economy” in the post-COVID world is bright, opening doors for entrepreneurs, working professionals and small-to-medium business owners. While about 40 percent of the American economy has been turned into debris, the playing field has been cleared, and the whole business environment has gone through a reset.
At the same time, people who upgrade their skill-sets and broaden their thinking won’t be left behind. So instead of people saying, ‘How lost I am, how crushed I am, woe is me,’ this is an exciting time, especially for young people, who don’t have to wait 10, 20 or 30 years for their turn to be a business leader. They can make a generational jump by stepping up and embracing technology, and by understanding in the rubble and chaos what kernels of business are sprouting up.
These points are worth considering when planning for success in a changing U.S. economy:
Don’t buy the theory that COVID will destroy entrepreneurship.
It’s a great time to invest in or buy a business because the playing field has been reset. There is going to be a whole new generation of fortunes made in the next three to five years. These are small businesses, companies that are nimble and can shift easily.
Investment in tech is trending.
Robertson notes that over $50B has been spent by private equity on tech deals in 2020. This fact dwarfs the issues that have swamped legacy or regular businesses that have seen a huge retraction in investments. The pivot to tech has accelerated, and beware those firms that cling to their old ways of doing business.
Make the necessary cuts and stay streamlined.
Seismic shifts are coming in 2021 as companies prepare for the new world economy. Some businesses must make drastic cuts and changes in directions. Pivot quickly and don’t be among the last firms to embrace change; it could be your demise. It is more important than ever to streamline operations and create an implicit trust with employees to ensure your business thrives in the post-pandemic world.
Remote workers can’t afford to coast.
A report on remote work productivity during the pandemic found that global productivity among employees working from home due to COVID-19 has dropped. “U.S. employees are leading the pack both in terms of the amount still working remotely, and productivity declines. Salespeople without direct supervision aren’t producing like they used to. Remote workers who are coasting need to get in tune with their organizations to keep their jobs.
Going solo isn’t a bad thing for boomers.
Robertson says older workers who may get displaced can make the most of opportunities to fly solo. The people over 50 and 60 are not grasping technology, and a lot of them are going to be pushed off the playing field. How do they switch to being an independent contractor, and stretch out their working years to 70-72? It’s time to reinvent and reinvigorate themselves.
Businesses and their best workers must shift with the times or invite extinction. The good news is, the reset opens great new opportunities, and people can take the blessing coming from all this chaos and turn it into business success.
Rod Robertson is an international entrepreneur and author of “Winning at Entrepreneurship: Insiders’ Tips on Buying, Building, and Selling Your Own Business“. Robertson is the owner of Briggs Capital, a boutique international investment bank. He has conducted business in over 15 countries while focusing on developing small-to-medium-sized businesses and taking them to market worldwide. Robertson’s 20-plus-year career in transaction experience and entrepreneurship includes guest lecturing around the globe at institutions such as Harvard Business School and other top-flight MBA schools.